Ancient Tradition: The Honesty of Meng Xin

Zhu Yueming

PureInsight | November 8, 2004

[] Meng Xin, also called Xiuren, lived in Guangchuan Suolu (in today's Shengzhang County, Shandong Province). He came from a poor family; but for generations, his family had advocated Confucianism. Later, he abandoned his studies and joined the army to follow Emperor Xiaowu. When the Emperor entered the main part of China, Meng Xin was promoted to Governor of Zhaoping. He practiced openhandedness and peacefulness in his governing. Local tyrants thus did not dare violate the law.

During his tenure in office, Meng Xin was free from corruption. When he lost his official post, he became very poor and had difficulty feeding his family each day. His only possession was an old ox. One day while he was gone, his nephew tried to sell the ox to buy some food. As the sale agreement was drafted, Meng Xin happened to return home and found out about the deal when he saw the ox buyer. He told the buyer: "This ox is sick and is unable to do even light labor. It will be useless to you." When he finished talking, he turned around and punished his nephew by whipping him with a stick twenty times for deceiving the ox buyer. The ox buyer sighed and told Meng Xin: "Honorable Meng, please sell me the ox. I don't need it to do any hard labor." Even as the ox buyer persistently begged him to sell him the ox, Meng Xin still refused. Finally the buyer gave up.

It so happened that the ox buyer was working for Emperor Zhouwen. And when the emperor found out what had happened, he was deeply touched. Not long after that, Meng Xin was recommended for a post as the Crown Prince's junior teacher. Later, he was promoted to Grand Master for the Crown Prince. All the scholars at the time felt honored because of him. He was given the honor as a cavalry Imperator, bearing the honor as Sansi and a cavalryman to serve the Emperor. He retired later and returned to his hometown with much honor.

(Cited from the Beishi Liezhuan (Northern History Biographies), Section 58).

Translated from:

Add new comment